I didn't make other plans, so here I am, home alone after church on Christmas Eve. Joe and Rita went out for tacos. They invited me to join them, but I just couldn't convince my stomach it was up for greasy bar food and a margarita tonight. Other nights, sure - but on Christmas???.
Once upon a time, I'd have been sad and lonely to be alone tonight. I keep poking just to make sure, but nope, I'm neither sad nor lonely. I have candles to warm the darkness, colored lights on the tree, music on the stereo. My people are not here with me tonight - but I know they are out there somewhere. There are presents; we won't open them tonight, but some of them have my name on them. I like presents.
I hate to admit anything even a little bit good came out of my bout with cancer, but there is this. I know I am loved. It's not out of sight, out of mind, as I feared it was for so many years. Rather, they hold me in their hearts as I hold them in mine. I am not alone in the darkness; I need to but reach out, and those who love me will be there.
And, it turns out Frankl was right. I might be alone right now, but I have with me memories of Christmas past; the memories are mine to treasure. Riding home from church, in the back seat with my siblings, shivering with the cold, singing carols, anticipating the joy of presents soon to come. Family gatherings, children galore, gifts for all. Tucking my children in, tired and worn, but smiling still.
And Joe and Rita just walked back in - would you believe they closed the bar kitchen early on Christmas Eve??? Who'd'a thunk it?
For unto us a child is born...